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Archive for the ‘Coalition Costings’ Category.

Sky News with Helen Dalley

I joined presenter Helen Dalley on Sky News to discuss the fact that the Abbott Government has doubled the deficit since coming to office, and now looks set to breach its pension promise.

TRANSCRIPT – Talking Politics with 2CC Breakfast – Wednesday, 12 March

This morning I spoke with 2CC’s Mark Parton about revelations that Prime Miniter Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey ignored John Howard and Peter Costello’s advice to keep Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson. I discuss the decision and affirm the great work of the public service.



SUBJECT/S: Martin Parkinson and the Australian Public Service; Tasmanian election and jobs.

MARK PARTON: I don’t think Andrew Leigh is going to be reinventing himself any time soon; driving a taxi or working in a bakery. He is these days the Federal Member for Fraser in Federal Parliament with the ALP. He is on the line right now. Morning Andrew.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G’day Mark. It is my third career. I was a lawyer for a while. I was a professor for a while -

PARTON: Yes it is. I’d forgotten about that -

LEIGH: And we haven’t even gone into my fruit picking and newspaper delivery days -

PARTON: You talk about people who’ve had to reinvent themselves. Let’s talk about Martin Parkinson, the Treasury Secretary, because we learnt some fascinating things in this story in the last 24 hours. The Abbott Government apparently defied the advice of a couple of learned gentlemen on the right side of politics, in John Howard and Peter Costello. It is our understanding that they recommended Martin Parkinson should stay on as Treasury Secretary but for some reasons Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey said, ‘No, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’

LEIGH: I think it was real a mistake of the Coalition to fire Martin Parkinson. Remember there’s a story from the last recession where basically the only two people who are still around in senior economic policy making a couple of years ago were Ken Henry and Martin Parkinson. The only two people who had been through a recession, and now there’s just Martin. I’ve argued personally to Joe Hockey that from his own self-interest he’d be well served to keep someone like Martin Parkinson who has faithfully served both sides. So it’s this sort of vindictiveness that I think saw the Government come in and immediately get rid of four agency heads. We didn’t do it in 2007. We hadn’t appointed most of the secretaries but we took the view that public servants basically work hard for which ever government is in power and the sort of partisan firings are not wise in the long run.

Continue reading ‘TRANSCRIPT – Talking Politics with 2CC Breakfast – Wednesday, 12 March’ »

Sky News Showdown – 17 December 2013

On Sky News Showdown, I discussed the Abbott Government’s first budget update, showing a significant deterioration in public finances, a significant potion of which is due to decisions made by the government.

It’s your economy now, Joe Hockey

My op-ed in the SMH Online today looks at Joe Hockey’s attempt to find someone else to blame for his decisions.

Joe Hockey, it’s your economy now, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 2013

As a very junior lawyer, I once worked on a case representing a restaurant owner, who had sold his business. The new owners complained that they could not make as much money as he had done. When we looked into it, the reasons quickly became apparent. They had taken on their relatives as staff, fired the chef, and allowed grime to accumulate in the kitchen. They claimed that our client had misrepresented the true state of the restaurant when it was sold. But as the judge found, it was the new buyer’s shabby management that led to the losses.

Today, Joe Hockey is trying a similar trick. It’s been 101 days since the election, but rather than acting as the Treasurer of Australia, he’s frozen in Opposition mode, looking for someone to blame.

Continue reading ‘It’s your economy now, Joe Hockey’ »

Breaking Bad

My op-ed in today’s Daily Telegraph discusses Mr Abbott’s three broken promises in his first three weeks in office.

Broken promises after just three weeks in job, The Daily Telegraph, 11 October 2013

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made a great deal of the importance of keeping his promises. A few days before the election, he said that if he became Prime Minister: ‘you should move heaven and earth to keep commitments and only if keeping commitments becomes almost impossible could you ever be justified in not keeping them. And I suspect the electorate would take a very dim view even in those circumstances.’

And yet after just three weeks in the job, Mr Abbott has broken at least three promises.

Continue reading ‘Breaking Bad’ »

Talking with Mark Parton on 2CC – 6 September 2013

I had the opportunity to make a final ‘election pitch’ to Canberra voters, in speaking with Mark Parton this morning. Here’s a podcast.

More Austerity, More Inequality

The Daily Telegraph today features an op-ed of mine on austerity and inequality. Here’s the (abridged) published version – the full text appears below.

It’s not time to hit the austerity button yet, Daily Telegraph, 4 September 2013

If anyone doubted the relevance of Keynesian economics, the Global Financial Crisis taught the lessons better than any textbook could. As private demand wilted, every developed country put in place fiscal stimulus – designed to save jobs and keep businesses from going bust. On average, a larger stimulus package meant more growth.

Today, Australia faces the opposite challenge. The University of Queensland’s John Quiggin has estimated that every $10 billion cut from government spending is likely to reduce employment by 0.5 percent. In a workforce of 12.5 million, that means 62,500 more people without jobs.

This matters because the Coalition is still keeping its cuts better hidden than the City of Atlantis. In past elections, every Opposition policy announcement was accompanied by a sheet of offsetting savings measures – the same approach that the Government has taken to our announcements. But you’ll look in vain for a costings table in any recent Coalition policy announcements.

Continue reading ‘More Austerity, More Inequality’ »

“Election Smackdown” on MIX 106.3 – 4 September 2013

In the fourth and final ‘Election Smackdown’ on MIX 106.3, I debated Liberal candidate Zed Seselja on public sector job losses, costings secrecy and same-sex marriage. Here’s a podcast.

ABC24 Capital Hill – 3 September 2013

On 3 September, I spoke with host Lyndal Curtis and Opposition MP Steve Ciobo. Topics included why an ETS achieves least-cost abatement and the ethics of same-sex marriage.

ABC RN Drive – 2 September 2013

On ABC RN Drive last night, I spoke with host Waleed Aly and Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos about vocational training, costings gaps, boat buy-backs and more. Here’s a podcast.

Find the full transcript below.

Continue reading ‘ABC RN Drive – 2 September 2013’ »

ABC666 with Ross Solly – 2 September 2013

I joined ABC666′s outside broadcast from Urban Roast cafe in Belconnen at 7.10am this morning, and spoke with Ross Solly about the campaign trail, the risks Coalition cuts pose to public and private sector jobs in Canberra, and what the parties’ policies say about their core values. Here’s a podcast.

ABC Lateline – 30 August 2013

I appeared on ABC Lateline with host Emma Alberici and Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne to discuss the Coalition’s hide-and-seek game with their policies, how their announced policies will disproportionately benefit the top 1%, naval bases and Labor’s plan to invest in productivity through infrastructure and education.

A transcript (thanks to Lateline) is over the fold.

Continue reading ‘ABC Lateline – 30 August 2013’ »

Sky PM Agenda with David Speers – 29 August 2013

On 29 August, Andrew Leigh MP appeared on Sky PM Agenda with host David Speers and Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg. Topics included the Coalition’s secrecy over releasing costings, and the situation in Syria.

Mix106.3 Canbera – 28 August 2013

On MixCanberra this morning, Liberal candidate Zed Seselja and I discussed optimism and talking with kids, kangaroos and roadside signs, Miley Cyrus and high-speed rail, and which Canberra agency will be forcibly relocated to the Central Coast if the Liberals win. Unfortunately, we didn’t get an answer on all these issues, but here’s a podcast.

Sky AM Agenda – 26 August 2013

On Sky AM Agenda, I spoke with host Kieran Gilbert and Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield. I outlined Labor’s positive plan for education and infrastructure, and noted the Coalition’s $30B of regressive spending – in the form of their $22B unfair parental leave scheme and their $8B restoration of the private health insurance rebate for higher income earners. I also discussed the impact that tens of billions in Coalition cuts would have on health, education and jobs. A transcript is over the fold.

Continue reading ‘Sky AM Agenda – 26 August 2013’ »

Mix 106.3 – 21 August 2013

This morning, Liberal candidate Zed Seselja and I spoke with hosts Rod and Biggzy on Mix 106.3. Topics included risk management, Coalition costings, the sacking of Raiders coach David Furner, and catching Biggzy’s cousin on one of my phonecalls to electors. Here’s a podcast.

ABC RN Drive – 19 August 2013

On 19 August, I spoke with Waleed Aly and Arthur Sinodinos about the Coalition’s paid parental leave plan. It was a thoughtful conversation as always, but I couldn’t resist pointing out that the plan gives five times as much to the richest as the poorest, and is yet to be properly costed. Here’s a podcast. Transcript over the fold.

Continue reading ‘ABC RN Drive – 19 August 2013’ »

ABC702 with Malcolm Turnbull & David Smith – 19 Aug 2013

On last night’s ABC702 Political Forum, I joined Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull and David Smith from the US Studies Centre in a congenial conversation with host Richard Glover about the philosophical differences between the parties (I argued Labor is the party of egalitarianism and liberalism), the Coalition’s uncosted paid parental leave scheme, negative advertising, and the situation in Egypt. Here’s a podcast.

Breaking Politics with Chris Hammer – 19 August 2013

This morning, I spoke on Fairfax TV about polling, optimism and Paid Parental Leave Scheme. The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme, which has been used by over 300,000 parents, is fair and financially sound. By contrast, the Opposition’s plan is regressive and at odds with the Australian social safety net that aims to give more to those who need it most. Here’s a vodcast of the conversation.

The Challenge of Budget Honesty

My opinion piece today looks at the costings challenge for the Coalition.

It’s Time for Abbott to do the Maths on Costings Gap, The Canberra Times, The Age, 19 August 2013

Imagine if you decide one day to use a new accountant to do your taxes. He promises that everything will be done on time, and you’ll get a hefty tax refund.

You hand him the group certificate from your employer. He says the figures on it are not worth the paper they’re written on. You point out that he’ll have to use some estimate of your income. He responds, ‘don’t worry – we won’t be adding up your tax return this year’.

You ask about that promised refund. He shows you a draft of the return. It shows the same deduction claimed in two places.

As tax day approaches, the accountant keeps promising to do your return ‘plenty of time’ before it’s due. But with three weeks to go, you’re starting to fret.

If this tale sounds familiar, it’s what it would look like if Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey ran an accounting firm.

Continue reading ‘The Challenge of Budget Honesty’ »

ABC RN Drive – 15 August 2013

I appeared on ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly and Arthur Sinodinos last night, discussing special economic zones, Coalition costings, minority government, and Waleed turning 35. Here’s a podcast.

Breaking Politics with Tim Lester – 12 August 2013

I spoke with Tim Lester on Breaking Politics today. A transcript is below.



12 AUGUST 2013


Subjects: Election campaign, First debate, NBN, Costings, Peter Beattie.

TIM LESTER: Andrew Leigh, welcome into Breaking Politics.


TIM LESTER: How’s the campaign going?

ANDREW LEIGH: I’m loving it. I was out in Amaroo, in my electorate, yesterday – door-knocking, talking to people about the National Broadband Network. One bloke said he’d just gotten it hooked up, and he was enjoying using it to have better conversations with relatives overseas. Gotta say Tim, no-one came up to me and said “the real problem with the National Broadband Network is they’ve brought the fibre all the way to my home, and I wish they’d stopped it in the cabinet down the street,” but maybe Mr Turnbull meets people like that when he doorknocks.

Continue reading ‘Breaking Politics with Tim Lester – 12 August 2013’ »

Talking Economics on ABC24 – 11 August 2013

After the first election debate, I locked horns with Shadow Finance Spokesman Andrew Robb about the government’s plans for managing the economic transition, and the need for the Coalition to bring their policies into the sunlight.

ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly & Arthur Sinodinos – 5 Aug 2013

I spoke yesterday on ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly & Arthur Sinodinos. Here’s a podcast.

Transcript – ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly & Arthur Sinodinos – 5 Aug 2013

Waleed Aly: Time to talk our political panel, two of our favourite politicians, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Opposition Leader, previously chief of staff to Prime Minister John Howard. And Dr Andrew Leigh, member for Fraser, previously the parliamentary secretary to Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister. Gentlemen, welcome back to the show.

I’ve got to say that I was very intrigued, that when you’re not on our program, you guys are getting together, making all kinds of bets. This is scandalous behaviour. It’s an interesting bet. You’re looking at annualised real GDP growth which was 2.5 per cent, trend unemployment which was 5.7 per cent and average variable mortgage interest rates which were 6.2 per cent. And it seems to me that each of you is betting that if the other side get in, those indicators will get worse. Have I got that right Arthur?

Continue reading ‘ABC RN Drive with Waleed Aly & Arthur Sinodinos – 5 Aug 2013’ »

Sky AM Agenda – 5 August 2013

On Sky AM Agenda today, I spoke with host Kieran Gilbert and Liberal MP Steve Ciobo about the government’s positive plans for managing the economic transition and the Coalition’s reluctance to release properly costed policies.

Sky AM Agenda – 29 July 2013

On 29 July, I spoke with host Kieran Gilbert and Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield to discuss the government’s responsible economic management, the Opposition’s refusal to submit policies for costing, and the whether opinion polls have any value.

Continue reading ‘Sky AM Agenda – 29 July 2013’ »

Learning from the UK’s Austerity Failure

My article in today’s Canberra Times looks at the perils of austerity.

Copying UK’s austerity cuts sets us on a road to ruin, Canberra Times, 17 July 2013

When the Great Depression hit the United States, US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon famously advocated austerity. His formula was simple: ‘Liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate…It will purge the rottenness out of the system’.

The theory behind austerity is elegant: proponents argue that government crowds out businesses, and that taxpayers will equate spending cuts today with tax cuts tomorrow. There will be some short-term pain as prices and wages fall, but from cuts will come growth. Austerity sounds great in simplistic theory. The only catch is: it doesn’t work.

Continue reading ‘Learning from the UK’s Austerity Failure’ »

Sky PM Agenda – 25 June 2013

On 25 June 2013, I spoke with Sky host David Speers and Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos about the government’s proud record on jobs, pricing carbon and creating DisabilityCare; and the future reform agenda on education and innovation.

Values and Tradeoffs

My op-ed in today’s Daily Telegraph talks about why it’s vital that the Coalition start to release policies, so we can have a real debate over ideas and values.

The real cost to voters of Abbott in the Lodge, Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2013

Former New York governor Mario Cuomo once said that politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose. A corollary is that while politicians campaign in ‘and,’ we govern in ‘or.’ Each decision to invest in one area makes it harder to devote resources in another area.

In this sense, the federal budget is more than a set of numbers, it is a statement of a government’s values. A government can never invest as much, or cut taxes by as much, as it would like to. Governments must decide between worthy causes. In these choices they reveal their values.

Labor’s choices are fully outlined in the budget papers. We are making long-term, smart investments in schools and infrastructure. We are delivering once-in-a-generation reforms to improve care for people with a permanent and severe disability. And we’re paying for these critical policies with $43 billion of responsible savings. The budget papers show that these savings fund our priorities not just over the forward estimates, but well into the future.

Continue reading ‘Values and Tradeoffs’ »

Sky Showdown – 4 June 2013

On Sky Showdown, I spoke about the strong Australian economy, the risk Tony Abbott poses, and the Coalition’s decision to vote against marine parks, including one established by the Howard Government.